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Record unbroken spell of growth in new vehicle registrations continues

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In line with Glass’s predictions, the UK car market has seen its record-breaking run of 27 consecutive months of growth in new vehicle registrations extend to 28.

Within June’s 228,291 registrations, the Business segment has again scored highest for year-on-year growth. At 26.4%, this is the sector’s fifth consecutive month of +20% growth – adding 2,674 units to take its registrations for June to 12,817.

Fleet registrations grew by just 5.5% year-on-year, to 113,859 – this segment’s fourth sub-10% monthly growth rate of 2014 and its second consecutive month of decline. Similarly, Private registrations saw a third consecutive sub-10% monthly growth rate, rising 4.8% to reach 101,615. These low rates are expected to remain relatively stable through July and August in the increasingly subdued period before September’s plate change.

The breakdown by fuel type shows diesel growing at 12.2% to a total of 117,411 registrations, while petrol has fallen by 0.4% to 106,720. Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFVs), as we have come to expect, enjoyed another large leap in registrations. Their 32.9% increase compared to 2013 amounted to an additional 1,029 units, helping sustain momentum in an AFV market whose year-to-date figures are still more than 50% above those of the same period in 2013.

Andrew Jackson, head of analytics at Glass’s, said: “The fall in petrol-fuelled vehicle registrations is surprising in view of the trend of recent years, which was reflected in stabilisation of the petrol to diesel vehicle ratio between 2011 and 2014. In fact, a preference towards petrol-powered variants in all but D-segment cars and MPVs, especially in the last 12 months, has been reducing the diesel quotient in nearly all segments since 2013.”

“The June figures may well be indicating that the Private market is finally hitting its saturation point for petrol vehicles, while diesel’s popularity in the Fleet and Business sectors continues to drive growth in diesel-fuelled registrations. It will be interesting to see whether this anomaly is repeated in July’s figures.”

The total of 61,415 registrations for the top 10 sellers in June was down 5.5% on 2013, despite an increase of 19.6% (10,102 units) in month-on-month registrations against May. Fiesta ranked first (11,213 registrations), followed by Corsa (7,961) and Focus (7,399), but none of these volumes translated into year-on-year growth. Of the models that have regularly featured in the top 10 in 2014, only the VW Golf and Nissan Qashqai achieved growth in registrations – with a striking 11.4% and 18.8% respectively.

“As we anticipated, the market did slow to a 6% growth rate, with the Fleet sector settling at a sub-10% level, in line with May’s market performance. Looking at the performances of the three key sectors in 2014, we can expect to see a continuation in growth of around 5% to 6% for the month of July in the Private and Fleet markets and around 20% in Business registrations. Our forecast for new registration volume in July is therefore around 172,000 units, with a split of 44%, 51% and 5% between Private, Fleet and Business.”

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